Police nab U.K. man for using mobile phone to organize water fight

Quite a few instances lately of world authorities blaming technology (or shutting it down) for conflict. The latest: Police in Essex, England have charged a man for using the BlackBerry Messenger service and Facebook to organize a mass water fight. From guardian.co.uk:

The 20-year-old from Colchester was arrested on Friday after Essex police discovered the alleged plans circulating on the BlackBerry Messenger service and Facebook.

The unnamed man has been charged with “encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence” under the 2007 Serious Crime Act, police said.

He was arrested with another 20-year-old man the day the water fight was allegedly due to take place, and has been bailed to appear before Colchester magistrates on 1 September. The second man was released without charge.

The BlackBerry Messenger service, a closed communications network, was the social network of choice for organising many raids on shops and businesses during last week’s riots in England.

Last week U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he would investigate whether social networking services should be shut down if they were being used to plan crimes. See our recent Today’s Question on this matter.

Meanwhile, NPR summarizes a conflict in San Francisco, where Bay Area Rapid Transit shut down mobile phone service in some transit stations to disrupt a planned protest they said was being organized in part through cellular networks. Disclosure: A family member works at BART.

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